The Insanity of Fantasy Novel Writing, and Why We Do It Anyway

Fantasy novels are a lot of work.

It’s like being in school with a paper due on a topic that you know absolutely nothing about. There’s going to be reading and research involved, then the actual writing, then having someone tell you if it’s good, and then finally – handing it over and waiting for the grade.

Except…no one is putting a deadline on it, so it’s completely up to your self-motivation.

And you can read about other people’s world, but there isn’t a history book about yours yet. You are literally (literarily?) making everything up. The only facts are things that you’ve based off of real life.

Like, people drink water, so your characters on Mars have a version of water called methelanduil. And when humans drink it, it’s meth, obviously.

So then, you write a ton, and figure out later that all of it is boring – because you’ve essentially written a history book for your world.

But, good news! Now you can research that to write the real story.

When you first hand it to someone else, they can’t help that much, so they’re like “Cool, cool!”

Then you hand it to another writer.

And they go Donkey Kong marking it up with a red pen, and finally just cross the entire thing out and they’re like, “This breaks all the rules of writing.”

So by the time you’re thinking about handing that sucker over to an agent and then a publisher, you are starting to wonder if everything you made up is insane and if you belong in a nut house.

But every now and then, someone else really loves that world you created, and feels at home there, and gets invested in the little people and creatures that live inside of it.

They cry with them and laugh with them, and even if only like ten people in this world ever felt that way about the world you worked so hard to create, it would all be worth it.

I hope.


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